300 reasons why we love The Simpsons
April 24, 2003 6:03 AM   Subscribe

300 reasons why we love the simpsons The 300th episode of The Simpsons is broadcast today. Find a space on the sofa and read why, in 14 years, Matt Groening's show has become the world's best TV programme.
posted by Cool Alex (37 comments total)
Well, I dunno about "world's best" -- I'd say there are some very, very bright stars that have burnt out in less time. Simpsons has been consistently funnier (or, at least, more substantial) than most of the shit on TV, though, and I'm glad it's been around.

But I'd also be glad to see more wonderful and insane short-lived experiments like Twin Peaks.

Of course, I'd REALLY love to see a Twin Peaks-quality breakthrough series that manages to keep it up for a Simpsons-style tenure. I would call it "Josh Gets A Pony.

Yay Simpsons!
posted by cortex at 6:19 AM on April 24, 2003

double yay!
posted by mrplab at 6:21 AM on April 24, 2003

the 300th episode aired a few months ago here in the states...
posted by mhaw at 6:37 AM on April 24, 2003

And apparently aired 4 days ago in England--the article is dated April 20.
posted by witchstone at 6:45 AM on April 24, 2003

So, so many good quotes in there. Thanks Cool Alex.
posted by vito90 at 6:50 AM on April 24, 2003

Evil cable having types.

BBC2 are just bout finished showing series 3 I think...
posted by twine42 at 6:51 AM on April 24, 2003

In a recent metafilter thread in which people nominated their favourite Simpsons episode I noted that 9/10 of them were from before series 10. What series are we on now?
Having said that, the few new episodes that I have seen recently have been OK.

twine42 - BBC2 have been showing new (to terrestrial) episodes this year. They just don't go overboard advertising this due to a) an agreement with Sky or b) proper manners, or maybe c) trying to give the impression that BBC/any cable TV is worth having with a view to running the BBC on a commercial revenue model (i.e. terrestrial is boring).
posted by asok at 6:56 AM on April 24, 2003

BBC2 are just bout finished showing series 3 I think...

Thank your lucky stars. You're getting the good stuff for another 5-7 years.
posted by yerfatma at 6:58 AM on April 24, 2003

Futurama is better.
posted by toothgnip at 7:09 AM on April 24, 2003

Worst. List. Ever.
posted by Dagobert at 7:10 AM on April 24, 2003

Nice list, although they forgot my favourite piece of Simpsons history...Simpsons writers versus alt.tv.simpsons fanatics.
posted by Succa at 7:13 AM on April 24, 2003

Having a bit more than half of the entire series on my computer, I can attest to two facts: 1. The series has seriously declined in the past couple of years. Many (including myself) attribute a lot of this to how large the Simpsons organization has gotten. The show now has about 25 producers, and is Executive Produced by that comedic hack-of-hacks, Dana Gould. 2. The best Simpsons is early-to-mid series stuff. It starts around the 2nd season then hits its stride in the 3rd, peaking around the 5th and 6th season when Conan O'Brian wrote a couple of episodes. There were still plenty of classic episodes until around the 10th season, but things have gone downhill so rapidly it appears to some fans that Groening may be ready to move on.

Right around the time that the Simpsons starting sucking, the Family Guy was probably the funniest thing on TV. Seriously, there were a couple of episodes that put just about any 'great' Simpsons episode to the test. Unfortunately, FOX in its infinite wisdom decided to axe it. Oh well...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:19 AM on April 24, 2003

138 Baby Maggie. The cost of Maggie - $847.63 - as she is accidentally 'swiped' during the opening credits was once given as the amount required to raise a baby for one month in the US.

That's the first I've heard of that. I always thought it was Groening's birth-date. Has anyone else heard this thing about a cost per month?

150-153 Troy McClure's four most magnificent educational films, including 'Smoke Yourself Thin'; 'Get Confident, Stupid!'; 'Firecrackers: the Silent Killer' and 'Fuzzy Bunny's Guide to You-know-what.'

The vegetarian one is by far the best.

I don't care if the link is dated or if episode 300 aired here months ago, I could read lists about the Simpsons all day long. Thanks, alex.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:29 AM on April 24, 2003

OMG it's spam delete the post OMG OMG!!
posted by xmutex at 7:31 AM on April 24, 2003

Civil_Disobedient is right. Much as I love the Simpsons, the past few years have sucked. It's sad, really, because during seasons 2-10 the show is easily the best TV show ever put together.

One of the reasons for the reduction in quality is the apparent Attention Deficit Disorder suffered by recent plots. In every episode recently, the first ten minutes has nothing to do with the main plotline.

Also, they keep doing new episodes involving stuff that's already happened (and happened better) earlier in the series. It's just.....sad.
posted by graventy at 7:39 AM on April 24, 2003

Ufez - you of course would be referring to Bovine University?
posted by vito90 at 7:41 AM on April 24, 2003

Ideally, you should be able to watch each episode anew at five distinct stages in life. As a toddler, marvelling at all the bright colours; as a teenager, enjoying the tilts at authority; as a student, relishing the in-jokes and movie references; as an adult, musing on the truths about life, love and death; and in your dotage, marvelling at all the bright colours.

So true, so true....
posted by angry modem at 8:15 AM on April 24, 2003

I always thought it was Groening's birth-date.

Yup, he was born on August 47th, 1963. *smirk*

Great post, Cool Alex!
posted by Vidiot at 8:18 AM on April 24, 2003

Yup, he was born on August 47th, 1963. *smirk*

Gaff. Maybe I should learn to like coffee. Anyways, I'd still never heard the price per month for babies. Anyone?

Ufez - you of course would be referring to Bovine University?

And now, courtesy of the Meat Council, we have some complimentary tripe.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:21 AM on April 24, 2003

As I see it, you are either with The Simpsons, or you are with the terrorists...
posted by zaelic at 8:29 AM on April 24, 2003

No mention of Ralph Wiggum, this list is obviously bogus.

Damned Euros.
posted by xmutex at 8:35 AM on April 24, 2003

I work Sunday nights, so I haven't seen a new episode in ages.
I think one of the more telling things about the quality and popularity of the simpsons is that you can make a reference or joke about an episode in almost any company, and be confident that someone there will get it.
posted by sinical at 8:52 AM on April 24, 2003

I second the Ralph Wiggum omission.

But, one of my favorite lines:
Homer - "I'll handle this...the only danger in space is if we land on the terrible Planet of the Apes...wait a minute...Statue of Liberty...that was our planet! You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!"
posted by tr33hggr at 8:54 AM on April 24, 2003

"He bent my wookie!" Ralph, I could kiss your peanuty little head!
posted by channey at 9:17 AM on April 24, 2003

my cat's name is mittens
posted by rorycberger at 9:31 AM on April 24, 2003

"Me fail English? That's unpossible!" - Ralph Wiggum
posted by Dantien at 10:12 AM on April 24, 2003

I always thought it was Groening's birth-date.

I thought it was "NRA4EVR"?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:15 AM on April 24, 2003

Literally as I type this, BBC2 is re-running the 'X-Files' episode, again. Points 61 & 114 appear in this episode. Methinks the hack may simply have rented the 2 seasons-worth of DVDs available in the UK, watched a few others on Sky or wherever, and pounded out the article. So yeah, what Dagobert said.
posted by punilux at 10:22 AM on April 24, 2003

"Oh boy sleep! That's where I'm a viking!"

"Hi Lisa! Hi Supernintendo Chalmers!"
posted by sinical at 10:29 AM on April 24, 2003

I'll chime in again, with a fav from Ralph:

"When I grow up, I want to be a principal. Or a caterpillar."
posted by tr33hggr at 10:56 AM on April 24, 2003

Not Ralph per se, but asked of him...

"What is your fascination with my closet of mystery?"

I agree with everyone in the civilized world that the last few seasons have slid way downhill, but as to this...

One of the reasons for the reduction in quality is the apparent Attention Deficit Disorder suffered by recent plots. In every episode recently, the first ten minutes has nothing to do with the main plotline.

Uh, no, graventy. That's been the forumula for every single episode since day one. The show always starts out with some event or outing that has its own narrative arc, but which somehow lays the groundwork for the main story. [spoken in comic-book-guy's voice:] If you can cite one episode which deviates from this formula, then, and only then, shall I retract my statement.[/comicbookguy]
posted by soyjoy at 11:01 AM on April 24, 2003

Civil_Disobedient: Family Guy has been added into the Adult Swim series, on Cartoon Network.

If you've never watched adult swim, you should definitely check it out. I find most of the shows to be crap, but Family Guy and Harvey Birdman are both pretty good, and SeaLab 2021 has probably replaced the Simpsons as my favorite tv show.
posted by cohappy at 11:16 AM on April 24, 2003

Damned Euros.

Actually, the thing that surprises me the most is that a left-leaning British paper failed to mention the brilliant strike episode, which of course features not only The Big Book of British Smiles and great lines too numerous to list, but also this fantastic summation of the history of trade unionism in America:

You can't treat the working man this way. One day, we'll form a union and get the fair and equitable treatment we deserve! Then we'll go too far, and get corrupt and shiftless, and the Japanese will eat us alive!

Finally, for the record, I think the show hit bottom ca. 1999-2001, and that it's rebounded slightly - though not to the measure of its golden age - since then.
posted by gompa at 11:18 AM on April 24, 2003

ca. 1999-2001

Sorry. By which I mean Seasons 10 to 12, for those following along on non-cable UK TV.
posted by gompa at 11:20 AM on April 24, 2003

Thanks soyjoy. That's the first time one of my posts have been disputed. I was beginning to think maybe they were just being sent to my own personal Metafilter page.

I realize that they have followed that formula from the beginning, but...they fit together so much better before.

Examples from recent seasons:
The Lastest Gun in the West - Bart spends the first ten minutes getting chased by a dog, and then, stumbles upon the real plot, a former old west actor turned drunk.
A few others, whose main plots I can't even remember-- the one where Bart is digging a hole to China, and it turns out to be just a story Homer is telling. The one with that screaming caterpillar.

It's...just....hard to explain. The first ten seasons or so did a MUCH better job of holding the episode together as a whole.
Stark Raving Dad -- Homer wears a pink shirt to work, his sanity is questioned, and he has Bart fill out the questionnaire.
Or, one of my personal favorites - El Viaje Misterioso de Neustro Homer: wherein Marge tries to prevent Homer from going to the town's annual chili festival.

(Bear in mind, all summaries are just about the first ten minutes. Not the entire half-hour.)
posted by graventy at 11:24 AM on April 24, 2003

"It tastes like... burning."
-R. Wiggum
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:32 AM on April 24, 2003

good call on adult swim cohappy. sealab's great, but in the end its all about meatwad!

oh yeah, dont want to get left out:

"I'm Idaho!" -Ralph Wiggum
posted by joedan at 4:19 PM on April 24, 2003

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